Want to know what your customers are thinking about, doing and talking about with clients… so you can follow up during sales calls? Here's an easy tip. Simply "Like" or follow their practice pages on social media.For instance, if you're on Facebook, try to find your customers — at least your top list — and then "Like" their pages so you'll see their content feeds.
You'll be amazed at what you can discover about the veterinary practices in your region, such as:
- Practice specials they're promoting
- Questions they're getting from clients — and how they're answering them
- Special events they're hosting, such as an Open House or Halloween Party
- Happy client/pet photos and stories (including tough cases that were treated with great outcomes)
- Any local nonprofits they're supporting (raising money for a local shelter)
- Clinic milestones such as staff birthdays, work anniversaries, years in business, new certifications, etc.
- Health alerts and other issues they're mentioning to clients (perhaps a hot weather alert, storm alert or storm closing notice, community problem such as an extended power outage, health concerns such as Lyme disease or influenza news, etc.)
- Reminders about wellness checks, dental month, senior care, etc.
- Reminders about special services offered by the clinic, such as physical therapy, laser therapy, grooming, boarding, training, etc.
- Articles, photos and other items they frequently share
- Even their clinic style: fun, upbeat, zany, welcoming, warm, etc.
Now let's look at 5 ways these insights can be helpful to you.
As you prepare for sales calls, make notes about what you see on your customers' social media pages. It's a great way to open the visit with something they'll relate to (they may be surprised and delighted that you've seen their posts!), and it could even pave the way for product conversations.
For instance, if you see that the practice is promoting an Open House, offer to check on any manufacturers' coupons, samples or giveaways that the clinic can include in their event… as nice "gifts" to their clients. You could also piggyback a coupon or sample conversation with a product discussion. "Doctor, I see that [manufacturer] offers free samples of their latest [teeth cleaning product], which would be a great giveaway at your event. How many times a week are you selling these products, discussing dental care, and signing up oral-health procedures?" And, you could follow up with, "Have you seen the latest oral health treats from [manufacturer?]"
If you see that a practice has posted a storm alert or a post about struggling due to a flood or other weather concern, jump into action with an offer to help in any way you can. Have their supplies been compromised? Do they need help moving supplies to refrigeration, for instance? Perhaps you can help. What else are they trying to overcome? Do they need to move boarded or recovering patients to shelter while they manage their situation? Reach out to see how you or a manufacturer can help.
Let's say one of your customers is featuring a specific service in their social media, such as boarding for the holidays. This is an excellent time to ask the practice about their setup and supplies related to boarding: cages, kennel runs, feeding supplies, litter, treats, bathing supplies (if baths are offered with boarding), etc. Do they have everything they need for a busy boarding season? You could also help practices maximize each boarding visit by showing them how to add on clinic services that can be done during boarding: laser therapy, oral exams and cleanings, wellness checks, screenings, vaccinations, grooming, etc.
Now think about this. What if clients are asking questions on social media about a new puppy or kitten in their home, and what to do about training, health, food, etc.? You notice that the clinic has a friendly and helpful response, inviting the client to bring in the puppy or kitten for a consultation. When you visit that practice, ask about their new puppy/kitten protocols and if they need anything. Perhaps you can help them come up with a new puppy/kitten kit that's essentially a collection of products that support young pet health. This kit could include a variety of products and helpful tips for potty or crate training, nutrition, skin care, dental care, and more… and even a toy or two. Several manufacturers offer client education materials for puppy/kitten care. You could show these to the practice and make additional suggestions for the clinic's special "kit."
How about if you notice that a practice posts a big congratulations message about one of their veterinary technicians qualifying as a VTS (Anesthesia)? By all means, when you visit the practice, take the time to congratulate that technician, first and foremost. This is a big deal to that staff member! Then, follow up with a discussion about the practice's protocols for anesthesia, the age of their monitoring equipment, whether or not they have all the supplies they need for surgeries and other procedures, etc.
These are just a few examples of how clinic social media posts can help you provide customers with the most meaningful service.
Granted, you'll already have a checklist of products and services to cover with practices during upcoming sales visits. But wouldn't it be cool to make each visit more personal — relating directly to what the clinic staff cares about the most, and providing solutions accordingly?
That's the beauty of social media. You get to see what matters to your customers and their clients. And then you can make your sales calls more relevant and focused on what you can to help them achieve their immediate and future goals.